Spanish Eyes Part Five by Mary G
For Disclaimers see part 1
The Storm had come on without warning. Not unusual in a tropical climate but Victor's crew had to scramble to ensure the ships safety. In an odd sort of way the storm actually helped to contribute to Victor's cause. They hurried towards the island in the distance in the hopes of finding and empty berth in which to wait out the storm.
There were several ships in port and for a moment they feared there would not be a spot for them. But one empty berth remained and they made for it with all haste. They settled into it with a heavy crunch that made Ranger wince. Surprisingly neither dock nor ship sustained any significant damage.
Victor spotted Jean and went over to him. "Jean, a moment please. I need you to make discrete inquiries. Find out if Montenegro is here and if she has anything for sale. Act like an interested party. We must find out if she still has the cargo and if not, find out who does." He said in a low commanding tone.
"What of the girl?" asked Jean.
"If she is here she is safe. I agree with the boy on that point. It was a very unfortunate event that led to her being here. We will get her back if we can but the cargo is our first priority, understood?"
Jean nodded, "As soon as the storm passes I will begin to make the inquiries."
Ranger watched the two men speak. He couldn't make out what was being said and in truth it bothered him. The rain was coming down in sheets and combined with the night, visibility was zero. There was a brilliant flash of lightning that lit up the night sky and Ranger thought that for a moment he had seen a familiar shape. In the distance he thought he had seen a ship's mast. But not an ordinary ship's mast, this mast was in the shape of a panther.
His instinct was to jump ship and make sure. To run in, find Ianna and be away with her as soon as possible. He had every confidence that if he announced his presence the Captain would not detain Ianna further. The matter of his father's cargo was something all together different. He hoped he could convince Victor to let him get Ianna before dealing with the other matter. It would be the smart thing to do after all, Ianna could be used as leverage. But then again that probably wouldn't work on Victor.
Ranger went below to get out of the rain and ponder the problem. He had to convince Victor to let him get Ianna off Montenegro's ship before he tried to secure his father's cargo. Ranger paced back and forth then came to a realization. I don't have to convince him of anything. It's going to take him a while to get the information he needs. He doesn't even know they're here for sure. But I do.
He smiled to himself. At the first available opportunity he would go ashore and get his fiancé back. Once that was done Victor could do as he pleased. Ianna was his only concern.
Pillar sat watching Sebastián and Rodrigo's seemingly endless game of drafts. Ianna had long since dozed off happily snuggled into Pillar's chest. Truth be told Pillar wanted nothing better than to take Ianna to bed. She smiled to herself thinking of how such an innocent statement could invoke such naughty imagery. She blinked several times as her mind returned to the present.
She looked at her two friends then down at her sleeping companion. Finally she took a deep breath and stifled a yawn. She shifted slightly and Ianna snuggled closer grabbing hold of Pillar's shirt. Pillar smiled and stroked the young woman's hair. "Ianna." She said softly.
Ianna stirred a bit but did not wake. "Come amor it is late, time for bed."
Sebastián and Rodrigo took a moment from their game to watch the scene play out. Pillar extricated herself from Ianna's grip and walked to the study doors. She opened them and spoke to the servant who stood outside the door. She left the door open and returned to Ianna lifting her in her arms. She turned to her friends and bid them a good night before leaving the study with a sleeping Ianna in her arms.
The servant closed the door after she exited and the two men looked at one another. Sebastián smiled, "It seems the good Captain is hooked no?"
"Very much so." Replied Rodrigo.
Sebastian thought for a moment, "Tell me Rodrigo, what do you make of the girl?"
Rodrigo bit his lower lip as he thought. "She is…many things my friend. A complex person as some say. She is very intelligent and speaks her mind whenever she gets a chance. She is also kind, thoughtful, resourceful and of all things brave."
Sebastián let out a hearty laugh. "And what would a proper young lady such as herself know about bravery?"
Now it was Rodrigo's turn to laugh. "By any chance, did you happen to notice a scar on her right arm?"
"As a matter of fact I did notice it when we were at dinner." Answered Sebastián genuinely curious.
"Well she received that scar on my behalf. I was knocked over board and she jumped in after me." Explained Rodrigo taking a sip of his brandy.
"What? That little thing? Surely you don't expect me to believe that."
"Ask Pillar for yourself if you do not believe me. She nearly went over the side herself when she saw Ianna go over." He said satisfied. They sat in silence for a minute then Rodrigo continued. "She is a good person amigo. She loves Pillar. I am certain of it. She will not hurt her like others have done in the past."
Sebastián let out a long breath. "I take your word for it. When exactly did we turn into mother hens?" He asked good naturedly.
Rodrigo laughed and looked across the drafts board at his longtime friend. "Shall we follow the good Capitan's example and go to bed?" he asked, the corner of his mouth twitching a little.
Sebastián lifted his eyes from the board and caught Rodrigo's. "You know, that's the best idea you've had all night."
Pillar followed the servant upstairs. He opened the door to a spacious bedroom and rushed to the bed to turn down the sheets so Pillar could deposit her precious cargo. Pillar lay Ianna gently on the bed and turned to the servant. "Gracias…umm…" she struggled a little not knowing the servants name.
He smiled, "David, mon capitan." He said graciously with a bow.
"Merci David." She said returning the smile. He turned to go and Pillar said after him. "I will stay here tonight."
David turned and looked at Pillar. "Oui Capitan, Monsieur Vega had only this room prepared for the two of you."
Pillar simply smirked making a mental note to speak with Sebastian about it in the morning. "Thank you again David have a good night."
The man smiled sweetly and left the room. Pillar turned her attention to Ianna. She placed her hands on her hips and wondered just what she was supposed to do now. She did not want to wake her but she didn't want her to sleep uncomfortably either. The most obvious choice was simple. She moved down to the foot of the bed and removed Ianna's boots.
The stockings however were a different matter. She was torn between modesty and the memory of what they had shared earlier that evening. She did not think it improper but Ianna might. She was a lady after all. Then she had a flash of memory of Ianna with her back against the wall and a devilish grin crossed her face. Bueno, at the very least a very passionate lady. She looked at Ianna's sleeping face and she felt her chest swell. But she is my lady.
She removed her own boots and pulled her shirt tales out of her britches so she could feel a bit more comfortable. The bed was large and looked soft and comfortable. That combined with idea of being able to sleep with Ianna tucked safely in her arms was enough to make her want to retire immediately. But she couldn't, not yet at least. She stood and crossed the room taking one last look at Ianna's sleeping form before exiting.
She made her way downstairs and was surprised to find the study empty. The game of drafts had been left unfinished, the pieces still occupying the board. Pillar's brow furrowed as she looked around the room, her suspicious nature looking for anything out of the ordinary. She stepped over to the window and saw the rain had subsided. Finally deciding that there was no need to worry she reached for the cord which hung from the ceiling. She tugged twice and waited for a few minutes. The door to the study opened slowly and one of the servant girls poked her head in. Upon seeing Pillar she quickly straightened and stepped inside. "Oui mon Capitan?"
"I'm sorry to bother you but could you have some one fetch my sword for me?" requested Pillar.
The girl was puzzled but nodded. "Is that all madame?" she asked quietly.
Pillar thought for a moment, "I will be out for perhaps an hour could you please have a bath ready for me when I return? Our stay is unexpected and I do not have a change of clothes…" she was cut off suddenly by the girl.
"Oh Monsieur Vega had some one go to your ship to procure some overnight items for you all, Antonio returned but a moment ago. He did not want the lovely Madame Moselle, in particular, to be burdened with her evening dress in the morning." She said with a smile.
Pillar smiled, "Ah very well then. I shall wait here until my sword is brought."
The girl smiled and curtsied, then backed out of the door. Pillar turned again to the window. "I really must have a word with Sebastián." She chuckled to herself.
A few minutes later David entered the study with Pillar's sword in his possession. He handed it to her and reported, "Your personal items have been placed in your room and your crew is aware you will be spending the night here. Rafael wished that it be conveyed to you that all is well and to fear not. Your bath will be ready when you return."
"Thank you David." She said giving him a smile. She considered going up to get her boots then decided it had been too long since she had felt the grass under her feet. It may be wet grass but still grass none the less. She trotted out into the garden and unsheathed her sword. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and began a nice long series of drills. She felt the blood course through her veins as went threw a complex series of combinations.
Had anyone been watching they would have seen nothing but a blur of motion as Pillar swung her blade. Her cutlass was made especially for her by one of the best craftsmen in all of Toledo, Spain. It was a gift from her fencing master on her fifteenth birthday. The pommel was decorated not with sapphires but with lapis lazuli. He had told her it was because they matched the color of her eyes almost perfectly. It was a beautiful weapon, but in Pillar's hands it was beautifully deadly.
Not long after, she'd stowed away on her first ship determined to "see the world". Her skills with her cutlass had saved her on many occasions from over eager shipmates not sufficiently intimidated by her size and demeanor. Later as her activities began to lean towards the adventurous side, she had earned a reputation as a master swordsman. There wasn't a man who sailed in this part of the world who had not heard of Pillar Montenegro and her sword.
Pillar smiled to herself as she spun and ended in a deep crouch swinging her sword in a defensive arc then an offensive backhanded slash. She continued her display until a clap of thunder halted her movements. She looked at the sky and flexed her shoulder muscles. She was covered in perspiration and her shirt clung to her skin. It had been a long time since it had felt this good to be this tired. She took a deep breath and trotted back towards the house.
She took the steps two at a time and headed towards her room. She caught a movement out of the corner of her eye. She looked over and noticed one of the serving girls at Sebastián's door carrying a tray. When the door opened she caught sight of Rodrigo with his shirt tails out and fully unbuttoned.
Realization hit her full force causing her to drop her sword. She bent quickly to pick it up and did not see Rodrigo approach. He had grabbed the tray form the girl when he was startled by the sound of Pillar's sword hitting the ground. In his haste to reach her he did not think to put it down. When he reached Pillar she was full swing into her upward motion to stand up.
What resulted was a resounding crash as Pillar hit the tray with her head on the way up with enough force to dislodge it from Rodrigo's grip. The tray and its contents went up in the air then came crashing down on the two of them.
Pillar looked up pitifully as she held the back of her head and heard a deep laugh. She looked over to find Sebastián approaching, his face red with laughter. He looked at the miserable pair, both soaked with wine. Rodrigo had gotten the worst of it. He had wine running down his chest and dripping from his chin.
He draped an arm on Rodrigo's shoulder. "Well, it could have been worse. At least it was not hot tea." He said with a chuckle.
Rodrigo gave his friend a look that conveyed he was less than amused as he wiped his chin. He looked past Pillar and a blush worked its way up the base of his neck. Sebastián noticed the blush and followed his gaze.
"Ah Señorita, did these two scoundrels wake you from your peaceful slumber?" He said with a smile. He watched Pillar as she turned around and noticed that Rodrigo's blush was obviously contagious.
Ianna bit her lip in an attempt to keep the smile off her face. "I heard a noise. I came to see what it was." She stated simply her brows drawing together as she noticed Pillar was still holding her head. As she crossed over to Pillar she bent over to pick up the fallen tray. Her eyebrows rose when she saw that it had been significantly dented. She looked from Pillar to the tray then back again. She opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted by Sebastián.
"If I may suggest Señorita, these two need to get cleaned up. I shall see to it for my friend here, the good captain I'm afraid is your responsibility." He finished with a chuckle.
Ianna smiled, "I do believe you're right." She took Pillar by the hand. "Come along my good captain before the wine stains set in and your shirt is ruined."
Pillar allowed herself to be led away. Her head hurt, she was tired, sticky, smelled of wine and she was being led to her room like she was five years old. In a nut shell she was mortified.
Ianna reserved any comments or questions until they were safe inside their room. Upon entering she very purposefully led Pillar to the wash room. She was pleasantly surprised to find that a tub of hot water was already waiting.
Pillar looked at the tub then turned to Ianna. She opened her mouth to speak when she was stopped by firm hands pushing down on her shoulders.
"Sit." Said the younger woman, the seriousness in her voice taking Pillar by surprise.
She complied and took a seat in the chair directly behind her. Ianna circled the captain stopping when she was directly behind her. She placed he hand gently on the back of Pillar's head.
"Down." Ordered Ianna with a slight pressure to the back of Pillar's head. Pillar tried to protest to no avail. "Ah, ah, I'll have none of that. Lean forward so I can see what you've done to yourself."
Pillar complied and lowered her head. She winced slightly as Ianna passed over a particularly painful spot.
"Well at least you didn't break the skin." Commented Ianna, giving Pillar an "all done" pat on the shoulder. "Who hit you with the tray?"
Pillar blushed. "Alright, alright, I'll leave you to your bath. But you will tell me later good captain or I'll not get a wink of sleep." Chuckled Ianna as she left Pillar alone in the wash room.
Once back inside the bed room Ianna noticed for the first time the items that were stacked neatly on the trunk at the foot of the bed. She approached and examined the articles. She found a night shirt for herself and a much longer one that had to be intended for Pillar. She took possession of both and set them aside.
She was delighted to see that there was also a fresh set of clothes for both of them. "Well looks like some one was busy this evening. Not to mention thoughtful." She thought with a smile. In any case the clothes were definitely welcome; she had not been looking forward to wearing her evening dress again in the morning. And truth be told, she had become used to her more comfortable attire.
She undressed and gave a sigh of relief as she pulled the night shirt over her head. She looked over to where she left Pillar's and stopped suddenly. She was only now realizing that Pillar's things had been placed in here with her own. "Why would they put her things in here instead of in her own room?" She asked herself looking around as if expecting some one to answer. "Unless…" Ianna couldn't help the wicked grin that took possession of her lips.
She walked over to the vanity and took a seat. She took the combs out of her hair and began to brush it. As she looked at herself in the mirror she saw herself blush as flashes of memory from the exchange in the garden passed before her minds eye. So vivid were her recollections that her breath caught and she had to hold on to the edge of the vanity. A sudden rush of heat washed over her and her eyes closed involuntarily.
It only lasted for a second but the intensity of it surprised her. She turned her head and looked at the bed, then at Pillar's night shirt. She turned back to the mirror and grinned as she resumed brushing her hair. "I don't think she'll be needing that tonight."
Ranger watched the activity on the deck with interest. Victor did not bother himself with trivial matters and left the docking details to Jean. The storm had abated and the men were finally able to properly take care of the final docking details.
Once that was done and the gang plank lowered several of the men went ashore. He had no idea how many were under orders and how many just wanted to stretch their legs. But he had no doubt that if he went ashore he would certainly be followed. That was the one thing that kept him on the ship.
As much as he wanted Ianna back he had no intension of leading Victor's men to her. His gut told him the further he could get Ianna from this place the better off they would all be. But with the men already going ashore he knew his time was very limited. They would be searching for Captain Montenegro's ship and it would not take long for them to discover it was here.
He had noticed Jean looking in his direction more than once and surmised he had been assigned to keep an eye on him. "Very well then." He thought to himself making his way over to the shorter man. He hoped a little diversion would be enough to see him safely off the ship and on his way to claim his fiancé.
"Jean!" He called out getting the man's attention. Ranger waved Jean over with a serious expression.
"Oui, Monseiur. Was there something you needed?" asked Jean a little out of breath.
"Victor sent me to fetch you. He wants you to meet him in the forward hold." Said Ranger matter of factly.
"The forward hold? Monsieur are you positive?" asked Jean, the confusion showing clearly in his voice.
"Quite sure. I have no idea what he wishes to discuss but he was quite serious I assure you. You know how he gets." Finished Ranger folding his arms on his chest.
"Oui." Replied Jean with a bit of a far off look. He was quiet for a moment as he remembered exactly how Victor gets.
Ranger hid the smile that was playing at the corners of his mouth and headed below. He stopped and turned. "Are you coming Jean? I am certain Victor would not like to be kept waiting.
Jean snapped out of his recollections and decided Ranger was quite right and headed below followed by the taller man. They reached an intersection and Ranger stopped. Jean turned in response to the lack of movement behind him.
"Oh, he wants to see you not me. I'm retiring to my quarters for a bit. I may go ashore later it looked be a nice quiet place."
Jean narrowed his eyes a bit then Ranger spoke again. "Don't keep Victor waiting Jean." He said turning down the corridor towards his quarters.
Jean decided it was more prudent to see what Victor wanted than to make sure Ranger made it to his quarters. Victor had told him to keep an eye on the young man. So far there had been nothing to report, and there still wasn't. There was nothing exciting about going to ones quarters. He turned and made his way toward the forward hold.
Ranger turned a corner and stopped, waiting to hear if Jean would follow him or proceed to the hold. As Jean's footsteps grew further and further away Ranger smiled. He carefully looked down the hall and was glad to find it empty. He made his way back up to the deck quickly and headed straight for the gang plank.
Ranger froze in his tracks. His heart thundered in his chest and his mind raced to try and decide what he should do. He heard foot steps running towards him and he turned slowly. He saw one of the crew headed his way and he wondered if it was too late to just run. When the man reached him he stopped.
"Monseiur, please watch yourself as you go down. In the center span there are a few boards which came loose when set the plank. We have not had time to repair them."
Ranger let his glance follow to where the man was pointing. The relief that washed over him was so great he actually felt a bit light headed. He nodded quickly and began his descent. He held his breath the entire time, not breathing until his boots touched the dock. He glanced around quickly then headed down the dock in the direction of the ship with the panther's mast.
As he approached he saw several men gathered at the bottom of the gang plank. As they saw him approach they went quiet and their expressions were serious. He continued on slowly keeping his hands relaxed but a little away from his sides so they could see that, on the surface at any rate, he had no ill will towards them.
One of the men stepped forward. "Can we help you Señor?"
Ranger halted his approach and took a deep breath before speaking. "Yes…or at least I hope so. My name is Ranger Dupree. I am in search of Ianna McClarrin. Could you offer any information as to where I may find her?"
The crew member folded his arms over his chest and looked Ranger over from head to foot. "What business have you with the Señorita?" He asked defensively.
"She is my fiancé." He answered just as defensively.
The men all looked at each other and whispered amongst themselves. Then one of the men went running up the gang plank.
The crewman turned to Ranger once more. "I am sorry Señor Dupree but I am not at liberty to reveal any information with respect to the Señorita. But I have sent for some one who may be of some assistance in this matter."
Ranger visibly relaxed a little. "Thank you."
It was only a few moments before two men came down the plank. Ranger's spirits lifted at once. Hopefully one of these men would lead him to Ianna. One of the men approached. In the torchlight Ranger could see he was very young. Barely more than a boy and surely younger than himself.
"Señor Dupree." Said Rafael, extending his hand.
"Oui, and your name sir?" asked ranger, accepting the offered hand.
"Rafael." He answered with a serious expression. "I hear you are looking for Señorita McClarrin and that you claim to be her fiancé. Is this correct?"
"I am looking for Miss McClarrin. As for the claim of being her fiancé, I claim nothing I am merely stating a fact. She is my fiancé and I have come to take her home. Is she here?'
"No Señor, she is not here. I am not at liberty to say where she is or when she might return. But, I can assure you she is quite safe. If you would care to wait or perhaps return in the morning to see if she has returned perhaps you may speak with her then."
Rafael hoped he was doing the right thing. He was very fond of Ianna and only wished the best for her. If this young Caballero was who he claimed to be she would have to deal with the situation upon her return. On the chance that he was truly her fiancé he hoped the information that she was safe and sound would serve to satisfy him for the moment.
Ranger was relieved to hear that Ianna was indeed safe. Just as he had suspected she would be. But that did not take away from the fact that time was a factor and he wanted to get Ianna to safety as quickly as possible. It would not take long for Victor's men to discover they were here.
"Is Captain Montenegro here?" He asked hopefully.
Rafael sighed, "No Señor, she is not. But I have reason to believe they will both be back by morning. As I suggested before, you may wait or return in the morning. I am afraid I cannot do more than that."
Ranger nodded and thanked the young man. His thoughts were racing as he walked away from the ship. "Where could she be? She is in an unfamiliar place with strangers, its well after midnight and she is nowhere to be found." Well, the island was small perhaps she was near. He simply could not imagine she would go far. He headed towards what he hoped was a town with the hope of finding Ianna and an end to this horrible mess.
Rafael watched as Ranger's form was swallowed up by the darkness. He folded his arms over his chest and let out a long breath. This was trouble.
"He seems like a nice enough Caballero but he will not be pleased to find his…fiancé has become a pirate. And much less amused to find she is no longer his fiancé. The Capitán will not let her go, nor will the Señorita leave voluntarily I'll wager." He thought to himself.
He turned to the men behind him. "Ok, What do we do now?" The men were silent then a voice spoke out. "Where are his men?" They all turned to see Mendez amongst them now. He stepped forward and addressed the men.
"Surely he did not swim here from France. He has a ship and men to sail it. We should find out where they are. If he is prepared to try and take the Señorita by force then we will have to be prepared to discourage him." He finished with a smile.
Rafael nodded, "Who will do the honors?"
One of the men stepped forward. "I will."
"Good man Enrique." Said Mendez giving him a good smack on the back. "Enrique could get the blueprints to the forbidden city if you gave him the opportunity." He finished with a snort.
Rafael smiled, "Alright, who is the fastest?"
No one stepped forward they all simply looked at him. Mendez cleared his throat. "Ah hem, that would be you my young friend."
"Que bien…" He muttered. "Alright, keep an eye out. I'll be back as soon as possible, hopefully with the Capitán. Make whatever preparations you need to here."
They all nodded and Rafael took off at a good pace to warn his Captain of the possible danger. He hoped it could all be resolved amiably but in the event that it couldn't he would feel better if the Captain, Rodrigo and the Señorita were back on board.
They watched as Rafael took off into the night. Enrique was about to do the same when Mendez stopped him. "While you are searching for information on our young friend, locate Omar and Montalvo. I do not trust them. Learn what you can but return quickly, I have the feeling we wont have much time." With that Enrique nodded and took his leave from the group.
Pillar allowed herself the luxury of a few moments peace and quiet as she soaked in the hot water. Hot baths in a real tub were a luxury even for a ship's captain. She felt her muscles relax and the pain in her head subsided a bit. She sunk down until she was submerged to her chin and gave a contented sigh. A soft knock at the door shook her out of her contented state.
"Come in." She said sitting up a bit.
The door opened slowly and Ianna poked her head in. "I didn't mean to disturb you but I thought you might like something to dry yourself with." Explained Ianna holding up a towel.
She entered the room and placed it on a chair that was near the tub. She was very conscious of the fact that Pillar was looking at her and was doing her best not to look at her in return. The truth was, the thought that Pillar was naked was enough to make her mouth go dry and make her heart pound. She knew if she looked at Pillar it would probably be only a matter seconds before she made a complete fool of herself.
She went quickly to the door and stopped for second before exiting. "Shall I turn down the bed?"
Pillar smiled, "Si amor, I will be out in a few minutes." With that Ianna took her leave and Pillar let out a long and contented breath. God I love her. She said to herself. She knew all too well what the lack of conversation and eye contact had been a bout. In truth, she couldn't wait to retire for the evening. To be able to hold Ianna in her arms for the entire night would be like heaven to her. It was something she knew she would enjoy doing for the rest of her life.
She moved her head slowly from side to side. She still had a dull ache and no doubt it would certainly hurt in the morning but it was much better than it had been. And, she let out a sigh, I've had much worse. She stood slowly and reached for the towel. She smiled as she dried herself noticing that Ianna had only supplied the towel and not her nightshirt. Hmmm How forgetful of you amor…and how naughty...I like it.
She wrapped the towel around herself and stood before the door with her hand on the handle. Her breathing was quickening and her heart beginning to pound. She wiped her hand on the towel and looked up pleadingly. What is the matter with you? You are acting like a nervous bride on her wedding night. Come now Pillar, you are well passed being the chaste, virtuous, Señorita. Pillar shook her hands out to release some of the nervousness as she whispered to herself. "I know, I know, but can I help it if she makes me feel as though I am?"
Ianna finished turning down the bed and made herself comfortable. She sat propped up against the headboard and fussed with the covers. She was nervous and it was all she could do to keep from getting up and pacing the room. She wanted Pillar, wanted her most desperately in fact. That wasn't the cause of her nervousness however. What they had shared in the garden was wonderful. She wanted to reciprocate. What worried her was the fact that she was plagued by self doubt. Pillar was older and more experienced in these matters than she. She only hoped she would be able to satisfy Pillar. She wiped her hands quickly on the sheet when she heard the door to the wash room open.
Her mouth went dry instantly. Pillar was beautiful under normal circumstances. But now, standing before her in a towel, hair wet and slightly tussled, drops of water on her shoulders and her first view of incredibly long, incredibly beautiful legs. Ianna was not only speechless but also excited. She wanted Pillar, and she wanted her at that moment. The nervousness and doubt that had plagued her just a moment before had vanished replaced by something else. It was something she had never felt before and she wasn't sure if it was good or bad but what she did know was….she liked it.
Pillar ran her fingers through her hair and watched Ianna in fascination. Something was going on in that blond head… but what? She couldn't help but smile and when Ianna returned the smile it all became very clear. Pillar wondered if Ianna realized how sensuous the smile was or how her eyes had narrowed slightly creating an effect that Pillar found most attractive. Her own eyes narrowed somewhat, the nervousness of a few moments ago forgotten. In its place was a feeling Pillar had never experienced. It was a combination of feeling like both predator and prey. A predator she had always been and was quite accustomed to the feeling. But prey? Never.
Their eyes locked and Ianna gave in to the impulse to go to Pillar. She stood, and for a moment all she could do was stare. Her eyes ran over Pillar's toweled form and when their eyes met again Pillar could see the unmistakable desire they held. She felt her breathing quicken and a knot formed in the pit of her stomach. It took all of her self control to remain where she was and not sweep Ianna up and take her to bed. She knew Ianna needed to explore and she was willing to let her satisfy all of her curiosities.
Ianna approached Pillar slowly, never taking her eyes off the taller woman. She reached out and took Pillar by the hand and led her to the bed. She turned to face Pillar once more and her gaze fell upon a long and graceful neck which led to tan, broad shoulders. She couldn't resist and raised her hand to Pillar's neck. She placed her finger just below Pillar's left ear and began a slow trail which led from her earlobe to her collar bone. She paused only for a moment as she enjoyed the sensation of Pillar's pulse point as it jumped beneath her finger.
Pillar closed her eyes involuntarily as the sensation Ianna was creating from that simple touch over whelmed her. Her breath caught as Ianna's touch caused goose pimples to rise on her flesh and a shiver to run up her spine. She felt Ianna's hands on the edge of the towel and she opened her eyes. She watched as the younger woman separated the edges, opened the towel and let it drop to the floor.
"God you are so beautiful." Whispered Ianna as she placed her hands on Pillar's shoulders and ran them down and across her collar bones until they rested just above her breasts.
Pillar looked down at Ianna who had chosen that moment to look up. Pillar saw love, desire and a hint of doubt in those green eyes. She placed her hands over Ianna's and guided them until they rested on her breasts. Then, giving them a slight squeeze she lowered her hands and left Ianna to her own devices.
Ianna felt Pillar's nipples harden against her palms and instinctively ran her palms slowly up and down against them. Pillar gasped and continued to watch Ianna as she continued to explore. Ianna stepped forward and placed several kisses on Pillar's collarbone placing each one slightly lower until she'd reached that spot in between her breasts. Using their previous encounter as a guide she turned her head to the right and took Pillar's nipple in her mouth.
It was an exquisite contact. She moved her tongue in slow lazy circles enjoying the sensation and feel against her tongue. She felt Pillar's hand come to rest on the back of her head and a moan formed in the back of her throat. She felt her stomach tighten as she allowed her lips and tongue to explore this new territory. She heard Pillar moan and felt her breathing began to quicken. She straightened, placed her hand on the back of Pillar's neck and pulled her into a strong passionate kiss.
Ianna probed deep into Pillar's mouth her lips and tongue exploring, taking what they wanted. Her curiosity was insatiable, she felt as though she had to touch, taste and smell every inch of this woman. It was like a need, a hunger she had never felt before. The more she tasted the more she wanted. She broke the kiss and whispered in Pillar's ear. "Lay down."
Pillar did as she was told and she watched as Ianna slowly approached the bed. She licked her lips in anticipation. She very much wanted to know what was next on the agenda. She all but stopped breathing when she saw Ianna bend and grab the hem of her night shirt, she watched as she drew it up and over her head. The beauty before her robbed her of the power of speech and she had to remind herself to breathe.
Ianna took a deep breath and climbed onto the bed. She could feel herself shaking as she positioned herself next to Pillar. She lowered her head and kissed the taller woman while she ran a finger from the hollow of Pillar's throat all the way down to her belly button. She smiled to herself when she felt Pillar arch her back in response.
With out breaking the kiss Pillar reached up and grabbed Ianna by the waist lifting her slightly and positioning her on top of her. The feel of Ianna's skin against hers elicited a groan from Pillar that only served to ignite Ianna's passion further. She lowered her head to Pillar's neck and began a thorough exploration of that area. She was pleased when it made Pillar moan once more. She felt Pillar arch her hips into her and her own hips responded in kind causing Ianna to lose herself for a moment as the movement continued.
She slowly worked her way down Pillar's body until she reached her belly button and spent a long moment lavishing attention on it. She straddled Pillar's leg as she worked her way back up and gasped as she felt Pillar's thigh make contact with her center. The feeling that had been building in her stomach quickly moved further south.
Pillar began to grind her own center against Ianna's thigh and it didn't take any encouragement for the younger woman to do the same. Within moments they had established a rhythm. Their bodies moved well together and as the two women discovered this through their mutual exchanges of passionate kisses and bolder touches, the pressure began to build.
Pillar buried her hands in Ianna's hair as she felt herself being pulled closer and closer to climax. Ianna shut her eyes tight as the sensations grew more and more intense and their movements more desperate. Pillar reached down and squeezed Ianna's buttocks in an attempt to get even closer. Their breathing became audible and ragged as they climbed higher and higher. Ianna threw her head back and ground her hips hard as she went over the edge.
Pillar felt Ianna's body jerk with the first spasm and it sent her over the edge as well. She held on tight as she came crashing down, the spasms gripping her as they never had before. Finally, there was a calm and both women settled contentedly into it. When they were both finally able to move again Ianna settled herself comfortably at Pillar's side. Pillar caressed the blond head nestled in the hollow of her shoulder and smiled. She was a bout to speak when Ianna beat her to it.
She looked up and placed a kiss on Pillar's cheek. "Te amo Pillar." Said Ianna with a broad smile and a bit of an accent.
Pillar returned the smile, "I love you too."
Ianna settled back down and sighed contently. She draped a leg lazily over one of Pillar's and wrapped her arm around Pillar's waist. Pillar couldn't wipe the smile from her face. She let out a long breath and held Ianna a little tighter. She made up her mind right there and then that she wanted all her nights to end this way, with Ianna in her arms. She listened to the sound of Ianna's breathing until it grew steady and relaxed. Only then did she allow herself to drift off into a contented sleep.
Most people avoid the shadows, fog and the darkness. They fear what they cannot see. While it is true that certain dangers lurk in those places at times, there are also helpful and interesting things to be found there as well. If one is smart, cunning and knows how to make friends with the shadows there is no telling how many of its secrets one can unlock.
Enrique was a master of the shadows. He had spent the better part of his life dwelling in those places most others fear. It was in one of those places in which he first encountered Pillar Montenegro. His associates figured her for easy pickings. An unescorted woman alone on the backstreets was fair game to anyone within shouting distance. Enrique however, was not so sure. Whether it was the way she carried herself or the look in her eye perhaps…either way it did not matter. When she was done he was the only one left alive, most likely because he had been the only one not to drawn his sword against her. She offered him a spot on her crew and he accepted.
Now here he was, back in the shadows, back to his old and faithful teacher trying to learn the secrets others will not tell. The boy had not returned to his ship, and, he had learned that two ships arrived during the storm. Which ship the caballero belonged to would be determined when he learned where the ships were from. For now, he tracked his former crew mates. He checked in all the usual places, the inn, the pubs, and the whore houses.
He simply could not find them. Odd for two reasons, first, the size of the Island, and secondly, they had been there less than a day. Not enough time to disappear and he knew for a fact no ships had left port. The storm had seen to that. It wasn't until he quietly slipped in to the shadows of some of the higher quality establishments that he finally tracked them down. They were behind the inn, looking a bit the worse for wear. Now what exactly they were doing on this side of town and what they gotten themselves into he did not know but he would find out.
Ranger had searched the town in vain. There was no sign of Ianna and his inquirey at the inn had proved uninformative. He was tired and frustrated. In fact, he was beginning to wonder if perhaps Montenegro's men had been right. Perhaps he should come back in the morning. The Montenegro's crewman Rafael seemed reasonably certain she would be back by then. Even if that were so, where was she now?
He had all but reached the limit of his patience when he felt a touch on his arm. "Are you alright?"
Ranger turned to see a woman standing before him. She was finely dressed and had an aristocratic air about her that reminded him of his father. As a result he took and instant dislike to the woman. However, he had been raised a gentleman and his upbringing would not allow him to be rude to a woman. At least not with out being formallyintroduced. He turned to her and cocked his head in acknowledgement.
"Yes madame, I'm fine."
The woman looked at him speculatively. "Forgive me, aloow me to introduce myself. I am Countess Rivaldi, Katherine Rivaldi." She said pleasantly extending her hand.
Ranger took the offered hand and kissed the knuckles lightly. "Delighted Countess, Ranger Dupre."
"My pleasure sir. Now, forgive my forwardness but you look like you could use a drink." She said with a smile.
Ranger let out a long breath, "I could use one at that."
Katherine smiled and took Ranger by the arm. "Come, let us get you a drink and then perhaps you will tell me what distresses you."
Ranger let her lead him to a back parlor. The décor was pleasant and looked comfortable enough. They took a seat on a small sofa and an attendant entered. "Scotch and water for me please and for the lady…" He turned to look at Katherine.
She smiled "The usual Simon."
Simon bowed slightly and left the room. Katherine turned to the young man and placed a hand on his arm. "Now, what is it that troubles you so? Could it possibly be as bad as all that?"
Ranger sighed, "I am afraid so. I'm here in search of my fiancé."
"Your fiancé?" she asked with a furrowed brow.
"Yes, through some unfortunate mishap she ended up here. At least I think she did. I hope she did." He stood and paced the room.
Katherine watched him attentively. A lost fiancé was hardly worth her trouble, and she had things to attend to. But he was handsome, perhaps she could comfort him in his loss. She was caught by surprise when he turned suddenly.
"Have you seen any young ladies in the last day or two? She is of average height, fair complexion, blond hair and green eyes."
Katherine's mind was working. Oh this was too good to be true. If it was true that is. Her expression betrayed nothing. She still couldn't be positive Pillar's little tramp was the girl he was looking for. She shook her head, "No, I do not believe I have seen her but…"
Ranger rushed to Katherine's side. "But…!"
"I did have the occasion to meet a woman fitting that description much earlier today. But surely she cannot be your fiancé." She stated carefully.
"Why not?" asked Ranger slightly confused.
"Because my dear boy the woman I met today was in the company of a rather unsavory person. Not some one a lady of standing would be associated with at all."
"Who was it? Please you must tell me."
"I doubt you know her, some call her a Captain, but those who know her call what she is…a pirate. Nothing but a common brigand…Pillar Montenegro is her name."
Ranger jumped to his feet. "Captain Montenegro! Do you know where she is?"
Katherine was about to answer when she was interrupted. "The woman she was with, you say she fit the description I gave?"
"Yes but it could not be her. The woman with the good captain was clearly her lover."
Ranger stopped cold. "Her what?!"
Katherine could feel the blood coursing through her veins. Oh this was going to be sweet indeed. "Her lover…it was most shameful the way they were parading around. They didn't even have the decency to limit their…demonstrations of affection shall we say, to behind closed doors. I don't care what others do in the private mind you, but to be seen kissing on a public beach and two women for that matter. Its perfectly scandalous." She paused in order to gage Ranger's reaction to what she was saying. "No my dear I'm certain that could not have been your fiancé."
Ranger took a deep breath and sat once more, "No you are right. That couldn't have been Ianna."
Katherine jumped in her seat for effect. "Ianna? Ianna McClarrin?"
Had it not been for the shocked expression on the woman's face he would have been elated. Under the circumstances however…"Yes how did you…Oh my god." Ranger stood once more. "No! You don't mean to tell me Ianna was the one you saw."
"That was the name the good captain used when she introduced her to me. Is it her then?" Ranger nodded slowly, a range of emotions filling him. "I am so very sorry."
He clenched his jaw tightly, "Do you know where I can find them?" He asked slowly and precisely.
"I would think her ship no?" She asked innocently.
"She isn't there."
Katherine thought for a moment, "Well there is one person on the Island who might know. In fact you may even find her at his residence, they are very old friends."
Ranger ran up the road that led to Sebastian Vega's home. He hoped upon hope that he would find Captain Montenegro there. As much as he wanted to find Ianna the Countess's words echoed in his mind. It wasn't possible, but why would she lie? She had no reason to fabricate such a tale. She must have been mistaken. Perhaps Montenegro did indeed introduce her to Ianna but was on the beach with some one else. Yes that must be it. He couldn't wait to be away from here with Ianna safe in his arms.
So lost in thoughts was he that he didn't see the obstacle in his path. He found himself face down on the ground when he tripped over a large object. When he got his feet under him again he went to inspect the object he was shocked to find it was a person. He got closer and saw it was a man. He could barely make out the features and was shocked to find that it was Rafael. He examined the young man for signs of life and found that he was alive though beaten to within an inch of his life.
His mind raced as he searched for options. "Well he's one of Montenegro's men. Lets take him to his employer." He said to himself as he scooped the young man up settled his burden on his shoulder and went on ahead.
When he finally reached the gate he began shouting. "Open the gate! This man needs help!"
Two men ran forward and took Rafael between them. Ranger followed them up to the house and David appeared. "What is going on here?"
Ranger addressed him. "He's been beaten. He's one of Captain Montenegro's men. Is she here?"
David did not answer but hurried the men inside. They carried Rafael up the stairs and Ranger followed. At the top of the stairs David led the men to the left and bid them to continue as he stopped at Sebastian's door. "Take him there I will get Monsieur Vega."
Ranger took the opportunity to go to the right of the stairs and down the other hall. He tried the first door he came to but found it locked. His heart was pounding as moved on to the next door and just as his hand grasped the handle, to his surprise it opened and he found himself face to face with Pillar. It took a moment but Pillar's eyes finally showed recognition. Ranger opened his mouth to speak but his words were cut off by a familiar voice that came from within the room.
Continued in part 6
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